Sunday, May 19, 2019

Review: Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes

Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know if I'm an introvert. I know I'm perceived as an extrovert, so much so that when I moved into my current job, one of the librarians who would have to report to me sent me an article about how to care for introverts (ha!) But I have my own hill to climb to actually go out or show up. And I usually enjoy myself if I can hole up with a small group or one person (Gallup calls this the relator strength and doesn't bother with the E/I dichotomy.)

I enjoyed this book where Jessica Pan spent a year doing things outside of her comfort zone, sometimes taking classes or consulting experts along the way. (Some of these experts had really useful advice! Have an exit strategy. Commit to an hour. Bring a friend. Etc.)

One of my favorite chapters was when she told a story at a live event for The Moth. I also loved her comedy routines and how she talked herself into doing it three times. I felt she saw performance as extroverted, and I actually think these situations can be a safe way for introverts to get out there, because being on stage or having a persona does create distance between you and the masses. I'll give her a pass since she interacted quite a bit with fellow performers, even making some friends and connections.

Possibly the even greater extrovert experiences came from the excruciating daily challenges like initiating small talk on London's public transportation when that isn't a norm for anyone, trying to get male strangers to have deep conversations upon meeting them (if I tried this, guarantee that it would be interpreted as flirting, because nobody just goes deep for the sake of deep conversation,) and the daily grind of leaving the house. And I loved her dinner party. What's worse for an introvert than letting others inside your safe space?
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I had an ARC of the book from the publisher through Edelweiss and it comes out May 28, 2019.

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Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daisy Jones & the Six tells the story about a 70s rock band in the form of interviews with band members. It is fantastic as an audiobook with separate actors for each character. I really wanted to go listen to the music and found it super disappointing to have to keep reminding myself this band did not exist (the style the story is told makes it feel real.) I did find a Spotify playlist from the publisher of listen alikes - Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith, etc.

The blurb makes it sound like the story is all about uncovering why the band broke up, maybe trying to capitalize on the reveal element that was in the author's last novel, but to me that tiny moment was not the big event. It's the band - the relationships, the addictions, the creative energy - that make it worth the read.

(The day I finished this, it was named as one of the selections for the Tournament of Books Summer Reading (called Camp ToB, so I expect even more people to pick it up!)

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Reading Envy 153: Reading Envy Summer Reading Challenge 2019

Jenny repurposes a summer wedding rhyme for this year's summer reading challenge. You get to pick which books fit each category, and make your own square.

Something swampy
Something blue
Something translated
Something true

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 153: Reading Envy Summer Reading Challenge 2019

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Books discussed:

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Minnow by James E. McTeer II
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson-Smith
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
Swamplandia!
by Karen Russell
Florida by Lauren Groff
Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen
Area X trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (starts with Annihilation)
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy
The
Condomnauts by Yoss
Fired Up: Kindling and Keeping the Spark in Creative Teams
by Andrew Johnston


Other mentions:
DCL Blue Book List
Daily Mayo - Books with Blue Covers
Listopia - Best Books with Blue Covers
August is Women in Translation month #WITMonth @Biblibio in Twitter
May is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month #apicelebrasian
Lost in Translations
Man Booker International Prize


Related Episodes:
Episode 034 - The Liminal Space Between with guest Paul Weimer
Episode 041
- Grotesque Beauty with Nathan Ballingrud
Episode 054
- Retired Pirates with Jason Roland
Episode 131
- Tartan Noir and More with Claire Duffy
Episode 133
- To Understand the World with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 151
- The Stories They Tell with Karen
Episode 152 - Kill 'em and Leave with Nadine

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Review: Boy Swallows Universe

Boy Swallows Universe Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Boy Swallows Universe is about Eli Bell, a boy growing up in the poorer outskirts of Brisbane, Australia. I was interested in it because I spent a month in the suburbs of Brisbane in 1994 and thought I might find familiar landscape.

At first it seems like maybe this is a typical coming of age novel, until you realize Eli's brother only speaks by drawing words with his finger, and that the parental figures the brothers live with (Mom and boyfriend) deal heroin. At that point the novel takes a turn toward Vietnamese drug wars, machetes and missing limbs, mysterious rooms, crime reporters, and estranged fathers. .
The style of writing made me question everything - is Gus alive, does the room exist, is time linear, does everything that happened have an upside down calculator word - but after I finished it I wasn't clear the author intended to deter me in that way. But there is a level of surreality to it that felt confusing when you read the afterword, where the author says he basically wanted to write about his childhood and this is it.
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I didn't know about heroin in Australia, but did some reading about it after finishing the book. It felt like a different sort of crisis in that it happened in daylight, in suburbia, and to family members and neighbors, not just sequestered to inner cities.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. The book came out in the United States on April 2, 2019, but I've been hearing about it since the fall from my Australian reading friends!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Reading Envy 152: Kill 'em and Leave with Nadine

Jenny and Nadine talk about books while Nadine's dog enjoys a bone and chasing his tail. Nadine explains how some books are like a funky bowl of noodles, where you don't think you like it, but crave it later....

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 152: Kill 'em and Leave with Nadine

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Books discussed:



The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Cape May by Chip Cheek
Her Mother's Mother's Mother's and Her Daughters by Maria José Silveira; translated by Eric M.B. Becker
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, read by Cassandra Campbell
Tonic and Balm by Stephanie Allen
The Chef's Secret by Crystal King


Other mentions:

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
Reading Women Challenge
The Roundtable (Goodreads group) Mount TBR CHallenge
Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan
Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes
A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark (free on Tor.com)
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Interview with Roxane Coady and Celadon publishers
Open Letter Books
Nell (film)
Milkman by Anna Burns
Literary Fiction by People of Color (Goodreads group)
Shade Mountain Press
The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina
John Woman by Walter Mosley
Restoration by Rose Tremain
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear by Walter Moers
Caucasia by Danzy Senna
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson (not out until October, wow)


Related Episodes:

Episode 129 - Coming Back to Books with Nadine

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Nadine at Goodreads

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Books Read April 2019: 83-117


83. The Cook by Maylis de Kerengal *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
84. Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden *** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
85. The Sad Part Was by Prabda Yoon **** (personal copy; my review)
86. Machine by Susan Steinberg **** (Graywolf Galley Club; my review)
87. The Honey Bus by Meredith May **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
88. Broken Stars translated by Ken Liu **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
89. Cape May by Chip Cheek **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
90. A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen **** (library copy; my review)
91. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
92. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami **** (library copy; my review)
93. The Chef's Secret by Crystal King **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
94. kaddish.com by Nathan Englander *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
95. Mars by Asja Bakic, translated by Jennifer Zoble ***** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
96. Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar ***** (interlibrary loan; my review)
97. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, read by Cassandra Campbell **** (Audible audiobook; my review)
98. When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
99. Stitches by David Small **** (library copy; my review)
100. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire ***** (interlibrary loan; my review)
101. Our Men do not Belong to Us by Warsan Shire ***** (interlibrary loan; my review)
102. Misconception by Ryan Boudinot *** (library copy; my review)
103. Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet ***** (library copy; my review)
104. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
105. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn *** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
106. river woman by Katherena Vermette *** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
107. Atomic Marriage by Curtis Sittenfeld; read by Diane Lane *** (free Audible download; my review)
108. Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis **** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
109. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza ***** (library copy; my review)
110. The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets **** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
111. Bright by Duanwad Pimwana, translated by Mui Poopoksakul ***** (personal copy; my review)
112. Brute: Poems by Emily Skaja (personal copy; my review)
113. Women Talking by Miriam Toews *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
114. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman ***** (interlibrary loan; my review)
115. Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business by Matt Lee, Tedd Lee *** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
116. Pastoral by André Alexis **** (Audible audiobook; my review)
117. The Athiest Wore Silk by Anna Journey **** (interlibrary loan; my review)


Total Books Read: 35
Five-starred: 8!

Print: 15
eBook: 17
Audiobook: 3

Review copies or other galleys: 14
Library or interlibrary loan: 15
Purchased: 6

Asia 2019: 5
Womens' Prize for Fiction: 1
Poetry: 7
Leftover Tournament of Books longlist reading: 2

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Reading Envy 151: The Stories They Tell with Karen (bonus memoir recommendations)

Karen reads memoir for connection; Jenny reads memoir to live her alternate lives. We discuss favorite memoirs, memoirs we've read recently, and memoirs we are excited to read. It's all memoir, and we hope we can recommend something for you! (Please leave a comment to tell us which memoirs are your favorites.)

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 151: The Stories They Tell with Karen

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Listen via Stitcher
Listen through Spotify


Books featured:



Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi
After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story by Michael Hainey
Becoming by Michelle Obama


Also discussed:

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Interview with Dani Shapiro on the New York Times Book Review Podcast
Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone and Praline (Ruth Reichl)
Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes
Dumb: Living without a Voice by Georgia Webber
The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May
How to Forget by Kate Mulgrew
The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by Ayser Salman
Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland by Tory Bilski
No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir by Ani DiFranco
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by Kwame Onwuachi


Related Episodes:

Episode 004 - Home, Frightening and Banned with guest Karen Acosta
Episode 015 - The Time for Exclaiming Over Costumes with Jean and Karen
Episode 051 - Dreaming in Books with Karen Acosta
Episode 066 - When Time Stops with Karen Acosta
Episode 100 - 100 Reasons Why 
Episode 101 - A Different Kind of Time Travel with Karen Acosta
Episode 114 - Raised by Wolves with Karen Acosta 
Episode 145 - Things Get Dark with Bianca Escalante
Episode 146 - Complicated, Crazy, and Loud with Karen 


Stalk us online:
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy